Nellie at Higher Grade Girls’ School, Cambridge

Back in 2002 I was a part-time tutor for the Worker’s Education Association and, after one series of talks, one of my audiences kindly allowed me to copy some essays written by her mother. I felt they were worth publication and was given a freedom to proceed providing accreditation was given to her mother who would be 100 on 4th August 2002.  I was very happy to agree with that.  Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as planned from my end and the world never had a chance to read some of the writings of Nelly Gladys Lant age 15. Fortunately I kept those photocopies the family kindly gave me.  A lot has happened since then – but I still have Nellie’s writing, it doesn’t age even if mine does!  We’ll be picking up bits of Nellie’s life in school in the next few weeks but to start with let’s have a look at her term report of 31st March 1916.

Nellie Lant is in class IV – and is one of a class of 54. She has been absent twice during the term but has never been late.  She has been marked on 18 different subjects in class – one of which is homework! Three of the class subjects – Composition, Arithmetic and Algebra – have also undergone examination as has the non-class test of Dictation.  Shorthand, Typewriting and Book Keeping are on the sheet but do not appear to be part of this term’s work.
Her marks are good and her Class Mistress remarks: ‘Nellie again deserves prais for her steady managing of cooking.’  She is registered as: Position 6   Exam 15   Class 7

Beneath all of this is the notice that:- ‘The next Term begins on May 1st when every girl is expected to be present.  No one is permitted to absent herself at any time unless she is ill.

We’ll learn more about Nellie in the weeks to come.


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